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Development Under Menino: ‘It’s A Dramatically Different City’

BOSTON — Boston Mayor Thomas Menino made his decision official Thursday: after 20 years in office, he will not seek a sixth term.

There’s no doubt the city’s skyline and neighborhoods changed during Menino’s tenure. Peter Meade, who leads the Boston Redevelopment Authority, joined WBUR’s Morning Edition for a closer look at development under Menino and what city planning could look like without him.

Interview Highlights:

On development in Boston today:

The mayor talked [Thursday] about how different we are as a city and he was talking about what we look like and how different our population is. The same is true of the city physically with number of developments projects that have been built and are also underway.

Throughout this city there are projects developing. We have almost $4 billion under construction right now in the city of Boston and we’ll add another $4 billion just this year alone.

On the success of the Innovation District:

If you look at the Innovation District, a lot of people were critical of the mayor saying, ‘That’s not going to happen. Can you just get going and put some buildings up there?’ And he insisted that we could put this Innovation District together and I say to people all the time, what it took on the part of the mayor was a vision and stubbornness, and he knew it could work and it did work.

The biggest challenge for Boston going forward, post-Menino

It is to continue to build a city where everyone is welcome, where you have a city that people can live, work, play, and visit so that we continue to attract young people. We are, as you know, the youngest adult city in America. One out of three people in the city of Boston is in the age group 20 to 34. They are better educated than in any other part of the country and they are our great resource. They are the reason companies are coming here.

I think we need to continue to attract those young people and retain them. A third of those young people own their own home, only 10 percent of them live in dormitories. A third of them were born in other countries other than the United States. So you look at that group of people — and the mayor works with them everyday — it is an important part of the resources of Boston, and quite frankly the future of Boston.

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